8 Types of Moms: Which One Are You?

Jeanne Sager | Mar 23, 2013 Being a Mom
8 Types of Moms: Which One Are You?


little girl holding toys
Nico Nelson/Flickr

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but sometimes I wonder if our parents' generation was right. About at least one thing anyway. There were no lawnmower moms or wolf dads. They were just moms and dads.

There are so many different terms used to describe parenting styles these days that I can hardly keep them straight. Should we be free-range or attachment? And what's with all the animal names? Are we parenting kids or building a zoo?

FINALLY, I have some answers for you!

Consider this the definitive guide to all those ... shall we say creative? ... parenting titles out there.

Now you can finally figure out which one you are ... or if they're all a bunch of poppycock.

Soooooo ... which is it?

  • Tiger Mother

    tigers laying down


    Naming parenting styles after animals all seemed to start in 2011 when writer Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother hit bookshelves. Chua came out with claws sharpened in a Wall Street Journal piece titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior."

    So what IS a tiger mother? She may or may not be Asian (Chua's description was based on practices common in households ethnically similar to her own), and they're extremely strict disciplinarians.

  • Wolf Dad



    The name cropped up shortly after the Tiger Mother started roaring, when reporters discovered Xiao Baiyou, a father from mainland China, who had written a book boasting about how he beats his children to maintain order in his house. 

    Wolf dads are even stricter than Tiger Mothers, and they're not afraid to use corporal punishment.

  • Panda Dad


    George Lu/Flickr


    When an American dad responded to the Tiger Mother, saying he's "happy to parent with cuddliness, but not afraid to show some claw," the Panda Dad was born.

    Think a parent who likes to take the best of all parenting styles and combine them all. They're fun and loving but no pushover.

    More from CafeMom: 12 Ways It Really Does Get Easier When Baby Becomes a Toddler

  • Helicopter Parent



    See helicopter parents, and you're 99.999999 percent likely to see their children with them. These parents are so named because they hover over their kids. Even when the kids do get away -- say, to go to school -- you can bet helicopter parents are sticking their noses into their kids' business.

  • Lawnmower Parent



    You'll never see an obstacle in front of the child of a lawnmower parent. Mom or dad has already mowed it down.

    Think the dad who does his kid's homework for him or the mom who wouldn't dream of letting her little snowflake have to clean his own room. These parents insist on making everything easy peasy for their kids.

  • Free-Range Parent

    park bench


    Free-range parenting has been around for centuries, but it really got a following when Lenore Skenazy, self-proclaimed free-range parent, published a column in 2008 in the New York Sun titled "Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone." She's also tried to launch a holiday when parents take their kids to a local park and leave them there ... with no supervision.

    There are degrees of free-range parenting, but it's essentially a very hands-off parenting method, the polar opposite of helicopter parenting.

    More from CafeMom: 12 Moms Share Their Game-Changing Potty-Training Advice

  • Attachment Parent

    kid holding toys

    Nico Nelson/Flickr

    A concept created by pediatrician Dr. William Sears, attachment parenting (or AP) is one of the few terms with some real meat behind it.

    AP parents work from birth to develop a close bond with their babies using techniques such as co-sleeping, babywearing, and breastfeeding.

    Many AP parents ascribe to more holistic approaches to medicine and natural feeding sources.

    And you'll never find a wolf dad among them: They don't practice corporal punishment.

  • Dragon Mom



    When Emily Rapp shared the heartbreaking story of parenting a little boy with a fatal illness, a movement was born. Dragon motherhood is, as Rapp says, to be "fierce and loyal and loving as hell."

    It's also about living in the moment with your kids and loving them for who they are right now, not for the Ivy league education you dream they'll get or the grandchildren they could one day give you.

discipline family

More Slideshows